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Lukashenko set to announce timeframe for constitution changes at all-Belarusian assembly

When asked about the transition of power in Belarus if the president decides to step down suddenly, Lukashenko answered, "I will not resign out of the blue"

MINSK, November 13. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that he plans to announce draft amendments to the country’s constitution, including their timeframe, at the all-Belarusian people’s assembly.

"I plan to announce in detail at the all-Belarusian People’s Assembly how we will be moving on and under what conditions, including the adoption of the constitution and so on, the timeframe," Lukashenko said in an interview with foreign media outlets on Friday.

An excerpt of the interview was published by the Telegram channel Pool of the First, close to the presidential press office.

"Under no pressure or under no circumstances are we going to abandon people and walk out on them," he added.

When asked by a reporter from the Kazakh news agency Khabar about the transition of power in Belarus if the president decides to step down suddenly, Lukashenko answered, "I will not resign out of the blue."

"Just when it is needed, I will step down," he continued. "Why suddenly? What if it is dangerous?"

"I am not going to run anywhere and I will not flee," he said in conclusion.

Belarus held presidential elections on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities.

During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped, but they have been continuing for more than 3 months now.

In the wake of the protests, Lukashenko announced plans to amend the constitution, pointing out that he was ready to share authority with other branches of power. He emphasized the significance of the Belarusian People’s Assembly scheduled for late December or early January to discuss the constitution reform. On October 2, the House of Representatives of Belarus’ National Assembly (the lower house of parliament) began receiving proposals for constitutional changes. The Belarusian opposition refused to discuss amendments with the authorities, insisting on a rerun of the presidential election.